Birth & Postpartum Doula | Childbirth Educator | Placenta Encapsulator | Birth/Midwife's Assistant | Reiki Master
I came to be a doula in perhaps an unusual way—though I have learned from my peers that no one ever comes to this venture in quite the same way, and that we each bring unique gifts and talents when we come. For me, the journey began when I was pregnant with my fourth child, and bemoaning the challenging state of women’s healthcare, particularly during pregnancy.
“It shouldn’t be this hard to find the kind of support system I’m looking for,” I told my partner. He was preparing to be my labor coach, but even still, we found ourselves in frequent discussion about how he may need to take on the role of offensive tackle to protect me from meddlers while I was in labor.
“Well, what are you going to do about it?” he asked.
“Right?” I sighed and shrugged.
“No really,” he went on, looking at me earnestly. “What are you going to do about it?”
It was then that we began discussing doulas—not just hiring one for ourselves during our upcoming childbirth experience, but becoming one to be able to provide to others the type of support, education, and advocacy I have long sought.
I can't remember a time when I was not passionate about family issues, and particularly family health. I had my first child at a young age, and found the maternity process entirely bewildering. Mostly alone, I had no idea what was happening to me and my baby, or how to provide for her once she was born (and later, when she was quite sick). I learned quickly, but it was a rockier road than it should have been. The experience strengthened my desire to support others who find themselves similarly lost at the hands of an impersonal medical institution.
I am committed to helping families access evidence-based information for informed decision-making, and to helping improve the birth experience for all families. I have additional training through Spinning Babies and in trauma-informed care, infant safe sleep, and combating racism. In a prior career, I taught college English and graphic design; since transitioning to birth work I regularly presents to both expecting parents and to birth professionals in the community on childbirth education, childbirth research, and birth activism. Additionally, I am conversant in Spanish, French, and American Sign Language (ASL).
The journey into familyhood should be a time of joy, love, and familial and community support. I founded Family Ways with the intention to help bring such an experience to any mother and family who wants and needs it, and to strengthen the family bond—no matter what shape the family takes. I am honored to have been able to share in the lives of so many beautiful families, if for just this one crucial moment.
Arné S., Germantown MD
"There aren't enough words to describe the unforgettable fantastic experience that I had with Rachel!! [...] She was great with involving my fiancé and was not overwhelming with her presence; she leaves rooms for your partner and family to enjoy the experience as well."
Leila B., Arlington VA
"While I eventually underwent a caesarean birth, Rachel's support was even more important in this situation... such a deviation from our planned birth needed someone with the experience and compassion of Rachel."
Elana M., Washington DC
"Choosing Rachel to be our doula was the single best decision my husband and I made in preparation for the birth of our first child…. she brought so much knowledge, support, and, above all, positivity."